Happy Thanksgiving

To those in America, Happy Thanksgiving! To those in Canada, Happy Thanksgiving about a month ago! To those elsewhere, happy day!

Something that may have been asked before but which I didn’t address was a Dothraki word for turkey. It seems to me that there would be no turkeys in Essos, if it was modeled after Eurasia (it seems like Westeros was modeled after North America, and Essos Eurasia, or something close to that), which would mean there would be no native word for turkey. If it were to be borrowed, it’d probably be borrowed from Westeros through one of the languages of the western coast of Essos. And since the Common Tongue is spoken in Westeros, it’d probably come out as “turkey” (or something based on it).

Thanks to Abe Simpson of The Simpsons, though, we do have a handy compound for turkey we can calque: a walking bird. A Dothraki calque for that would be zir ifay. In fact, we can put that together and get zirifay. That works pretty nicely.

So, to one and all, allow me to say: Asshekhi Zirifayi Vezhvena! Stay safe, and may the Cowboys lose (after Miles Austin gets two touchdowns. I need this win in fantasy)!

Posted on November 22, 2012, in Vocabulary and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. So, you take the Common Tongue as being simply English, rather than a language being “played by” English (á la Tolkien’s Westernesse)? Can’t say I can contradict you, really, though there are fantasy novels that can less aptly apply the “translation” conceit.

    • I think it is a language being played by English, but we don’t have any examples of the “real” Common Tongue, and likely never will, so English is all we’ve got. I certainly won’t coin Common Tongue words as passed through some Western Essos language as borrowed into Dothraki!

  2. Very good one! I remember that episode, and it’s funny you should mention it, since in the Spanish dubbing what the grandpa Simpson says is “aves gordas” or “fat birds”… so, completely different thing, hehe.

  3. “Belated” Zirifayi Vezhvena! Athchomari Vezhvena! ^^

  4. The Dragon Demands

    this post inspired me to add “walking bird” as a redirect page on Wikipedia back in December (if you type “walking bird” into the search bar, it goes to the “Turkey” page). Surprisingly, no one deleted it (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Walking_bird&redirect=no )

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